Belligerent Roscosmos publicly questions NASA policy

by | Oct 13, 2008 | NASA, Russia | 1 comment

In an unusually blunt and undiplomatic move Russia’s Federal Space Agency (FSA) has posted on its website a report about a 7 October meeting between its public relations staff and NASA representatives

**I have only sourced the Anatoly Perminov picture from the European Space Agency’s website, the agency was not involved in the FSA/NASA meeting and discussions

Hyperbola obtained a translation by Russian speakers of the report – see a Google translation here – confirming that it says that NASA officials could not present an official document signed by all International Space Station (ISS) partners that would give any of them the right to make ISS air-to-ground conversations available to the public on a permanent basis nor could they give any legal basis for their decision

It seems to be the permanent basis of the 24/7 broadcasting that is troubling the FSA rather than the fact that there is any transmission at all. But the agency is clearly not happy and with the international diplomacy aspect of all things ISS its quite a surprise move for Russia to do what it has done

In the report it is pointed out by FSA staff that the ISS is manned by astronauts from several nations and it relies not only on US but also on Russian tracking and communications systems

So the Russians, considering that fact, felt that a decision to make communications permanently available to the public should be agreed to by all the ISS partners

The trigger for all this seems to have been a NASA press release issued on 25 September on the NASA website saying that ISS air-to-ground communications would become available to the public seven days a week, 24h a day

I am aware that the Russians have been miffed in the past when NASA has demanded unrealistic Soyuz production timetables and prices but none of that has ever been made public – and I was never going to get an attributable statement to make a proper story out of that so take that as Russian gossip passed on by me

I can only assume that in this comms case NASA has simply told Russia where to get off. I asked NASA about this report and the US agency replied, “NASA has received no requests from Roscosmos to change the way station operations are released to the public in any way.”

While the FSA report says that it was agreed at the meeting that the issue of permanent transmission would be further studied by the public affairs offices of both NASA and Roskosmos and legal experts from both sides

Make of that and the NASA statement what you will

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